How The Crimson Canvas is adding colour to the lives of less-fortunate children through painting workshops

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Did you know that in 2017, just the work of 25 artists accounted for 44.6 percent of the $2.7 billion generated by public art auction sales? A very small proportion of artists claim a very large market share, preventing people from experiencing everything that art has to offer. Moreover, art supplies can be quite a costly affair. This is where The Crimson Canvas steps in. Founded by two Bangaloreans - Victor Noel Mohan and Senneil Gomes in 2018 - the company conducts fun and engaging painting workshops every weekend at cafés and restaurants in Bangalore and Surat.

Making painting fun and easy experience for all

Victor says that although art seems daunting at first, the truth is that once you discover your inner Picasso, anyone can paint. The duo are medical doctors, who discovered art to be a creative outlet they could fall back on to relieve themselves from exam pressure in medical school. But not everyone shared the same opinion.

“It almost seemed as though one needed to learn certain skills to create art,” says Senneil. “What about creating art for fun? The art that you create does not necessarily have to be of the same calibre as that of Dali or Warhol. Sometimes art can just be used as a medium to engage your thoughts and express yourself,” Victor adds. 

That’s when they decided to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of their age or background, and with the help of close family, they launched The Crimson Canvas in Bengaluru. The objective was to create a platform for talented local artists, to conduct innovative workshops for people looking to experience art in an approachable way.

 The Crimson Canvas hosts unique workshops like collaborative, split-canvas painting workshops and ‘Paint your Pet’ workshops. Finding that collaborative paintings were hitting the right notes with couples and families, the team began to host collaborative paintings as part of team-building workshops at corporates. “You only need a brush and a canvas and you're good to go,” says Victor. These workshops have been priced lower than the industry average with an aim to reach out to a wider audience.

Empowering budding artists through acrylic painting

Victor and Senneil started off with the belief that ‘anyone can paint’ and wanted to place inclusion at the core of their operations. Five months into the entrepreneurial journey, the founders weren’t completely satisfied. Although their efforts in making workshops accessible succeeded, they realised that the less-fortunate could in no way afford their workshops, no matter how much they lowered the price. They then partnered with Reach Lives India, where Victor is one of the co-founders to launch the ‘Paint to Empower’ initiative. The initiative aims to empower children from challenging backgrounds through the medium of art.

Artists, part of the ‘Paint to Empower’ initiative, dedicate one day of the month to conduct a scaled-down version of their workshop for kids at a selected orphanage. They offer step-by-step guidance to train them in various art forms with a special focus on acrylic painting. “Our mission is to conduct fun workshops to enable these children to fulfil their dreams and gain valuable skills along the way,” says Victor.

The first ‘Paint to Empower' event was held in Sparsha Home, Bengaluru. “These kids aspire to become artists but cannot afford to buy art supplies or pay for workshops to skill themselves. All they need is guidance and the material to work on, and The Crimson Canvas provides that for free. The paintings done by the children are then auctioned through fundraiser events to raise profits for their Foster Homes” explains Victor.

Painting a hopeful future

Today, The Crimson Canvas exists in three cities, and connects talented artists with people looking for experiential events through innovative art workshops such as ‘Paint your Pet’ and ‘Family Paint Nite’. 

For the road ahead, Senneil says they plan to add more art forms on their platform, and also expand to other cities in India. “We are very excited to expand our range of offerings. We know that art takes many unique forms and the more we open our platform to people on sites like Instagram, the more we are finding ourselves being blown away by the sheer creativity of some individuals.”

So far, they have conducted over 15 ‘Paint to Empower’ events in Bengaluru alone. They have also conducted a Paint to Empower event in Surat for a group of super talented children in the School for Differently Abled. They plan to expand this initiative to include the elderly at care homes for whom supplementary income can be very useful.

“We are also excited to welcome the first batch of graduates from our ‘Paint to Empower’ programme. We will be involving some of them in our core operations as adjunct staff and perhaps as instructors sometime in the future,” says Senneil.


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